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Google culls unpopular services

Google culls unpopular services

The axeman cometh for Google's less popular services.

Google has detailed the imminent demise of a number of its less-used services and initiatives, via a blog post from senior vice president Urs Hölzle.

While we've known that Google Wave has been headed for the bin for a while, its closure date has now been officially announced as 31 January 2012, when the service will become read-only for the few remaining users.

Also on the chopping block are the web application browser extension Google Gears, which will cease working on 1 December, website plugin Google Friend Connect, which will close its doors on 31 March, and article collaboration service Knol, which will close on 30 April, 2012.

It seems the problem with being the world's largest search engine and having enough cash to buy a small South American country is that not every new venture or idea works out.

However, while it's always disheartening to see services close, it's unlikely there will be too many mourners for those axed. Just so long as Google keeps working towards those awesome self-driving cars and running most of the world's web searches, it'll probably be okay.

Did you use Google Friend Connect, Gears or Wave? Do you use any of Google's other services such as G+? Let us know your thoughts in the forum.

44 Comments

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TheKrumpet 23rd November 2011, 13:34 Quote
They got rid of what now? Eh. *shrugs*.
fodder 23rd November 2011, 13:37 Quote
Inevitable that some ideas won't work or be popular enough to justify. I use a lot of their services although only suffered a big loss when they axed notebook a few years back. Still, have evernote now :-)

At least they try the ideas and give them some developement, rather than just discounting them at birth.
Flibblebot 23rd November 2011, 13:41 Quote
Google have been tweaking a bit over the last few weeks too - I noticed a message a couple of weeks ago that the + modifier had been dropped, but that message seems to have disappeared now.

Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?

On a completely unrelated note, today's Google Doodle is an ultra cool homage to Stanislav Lem. YouTube link for those reading this on Thursday:
WDy9MCkJMh8
XXAOSICXX 23rd November 2011, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?

Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....
wuyanxu 23rd November 2011, 14:39 Quote
Wave was brilliant! shame most people just prefer to use Dropbox.

Wave allows 5 people editing the same LaTex document at the same time, then just copy+paste the whole thing into text file and hit compile for a very nice looking document. without Wave, my final year group project probably would be much, much more difficult to coordinate and require at least 1 person do a one-nighter before the hand-in date.
Silent_Raider 23rd November 2011, 15:12 Quote
Google Health is also being discontinued as of January 1, 2012. It was a good place to store your medical information for easier access.
yassarikhan786 23rd November 2011, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....

I'm pretty much the same :) apart from Translate, Sketchup and Blogger. I think its safe to say the above services will be around for a while :).
javaman 23rd November 2011, 15:19 Quote
TBH they'll recycle a lot of what their scraping and integrate some of it into other services.
yakyb 23rd November 2011, 15:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?

Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....

Google Apps is probably the single most important thing for me (well second to search) on the entire internet

Everybody should have an Apps Account and probably would if they new what it could do

I swear you could make a decent living solely setting up peoples Googles apps accounts for them (and have to do very little)
x5pilot 23rd November 2011, 17:29 Quote
Wish they'd get rid of Apple!
Yemerich 23rd November 2011, 18:59 Quote
I still see no urge to use google+
I may be getting old thou...

Anyway, I wish they would buy a small country in south america! that would be cool!
adidan 23rd November 2011, 19:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticstoat
Google vice president gives details of services heading for the bin.
Google vice president makes me aware of services for the first time.

Can't say I've heard any of those listed.
John_T 23rd November 2011, 19:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidan

Google vice president makes me aware of services for the first time.

Can't say I've heard any of those listed.

That.

Google is a fantastic company though. Google search has completely transformed the way I use the internet, and Google Maps & Google Earth have massively improved certain elements of my life in general. I don't really use anything else of theirs, but the way some people are talking up their other stuff I suppose I may just have to take a look...
adidan 23rd November 2011, 19:55 Quote
I think the thing is at least they experiment. If it doesn't work, cut it out, if it does then, well, that's just dandy.
Red Alert 23rd November 2011, 20:24 Quote
The cool thing about google is that they give ideas a try. They seem to always have something new coming out that is just an idea that "might" work, but they give it a go anyway and if it dont work, they kill it.
mi1ez 23rd November 2011, 22:37 Quote
Better to innovate and. Fail than not bother!
delriogw 24th November 2011, 00:00 Quote
the biggest issue is surely that most of us never HEAR about these projects until they're being canned.

how many of the things they end up getting rid of would take off if they were just brought to more people's attention?!
fluxtatic 24th November 2011, 07:18 Quote
I think y'all memories might be faulty - even I remember Wave for the nerdrage it caused because nobody could figure out what it was or what it was supposed to do. They had a 30-minute intro video to show people just that, but by then no one cared...tbh, my only surprise there is that it hadn't been killed years ago.

I remember hearing of Gears, but apparently I didn't find it interesting enough to figure out what it was. Knol was supposed to kill Wikipedia. Friend Connect I'd never heard of, but then again, I have no friends.

I'm with delriogw and mi1ez - glad that they try new things. How often do you see that with big companies? I just wish I worked at a place that gave me "20% time"
sofalover 24th November 2011, 09:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yemerich
I still see no urge to use google+
I may be getting old thou...

Anyway, I wish they would buy a small country in south america! that would be cool!

Nope nobody else can be bothered either beyond the initial sign up, it's bollocks.
adidan 24th November 2011, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
I think y'all memories might be faulty
Speak for yourself, I.....

hm....

now what did I come in here for?

NURSE!

Edit: Seriously, I don't remember any of those - they can't have been that well promoted.
mediapcAddict 24th November 2011, 15:20 Quote
firstly I never heard of any of these services

2ndly
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5pilot
Wish they'd get rid of Apple!

err -WHY?
if the iphone hadn't existed where would google have got all it's ideas for android from?
I don't own anything apple but personnally I've never understood the hatred of apple. Indifference I understand. Ignore them for being expensive, pretenious and smug sure. but competition keeps prices down and basically andriod phones and tablets are clones of what apple did years ago. whatever else you think about apple computers give them some credit for the iphone ipad and the clones it has produced.
Snips 24th November 2011, 16:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?

Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....

Bing, Office and IE9 and Facebook. What am I supposed to need Google for again?
shaunster1011 24th November 2011, 17:11 Quote
Well if not enough people are using them we cant blame them for dropping the services.

Cant say I had even heard of any of the services they are culling TBH.
XXAOSICXX 24th November 2011, 19:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?

Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....

Bing, Office and IE9 and Facebook. What am I supposed to need Google for again?

You're not *supposed* to need any of them for anything....they're optional, in your life, ya know?

I really don't understand the anti-google sentiment that comes out in bit-tech sometimes...

It's all about choice. You choose Bing, I choose Google. You choose IE9, I choose Chrome. You choose Facef**k, I choose Google+

Technology is there to help you...why do people see the need to take sides on *everything*.

..and, tbh, if you're gonna do a like-to-like comparison of the services you just mentioned above, you might as well accept now that you're gonna lose since, aside from MS Office, which I'm a big fan of, Bing, Facebook and IE9 are all equally horrid.
Snips 24th November 2011, 20:05 Quote
Yawn, old story from goggles. Goggles+? is anyone using that still? Chrome? Goggles search? Come now, you have to get with the times and use the services that run faster, search better and at least have people you know a member of.

No thanks, I can live blissfully without the need to use a goggle adware product.
Hakuren 25th November 2011, 18:03 Quote
As far I'm concerned apart from Search and Language Tools, Google can shut everything else down. And FFS bring old search engine back you pillocks!
Flibblebot 25th November 2011, 18:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Frankly, I'm not surprised at Google dropping these services - how many people use anything beyond searching and (perhaps) Google+?
Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
[and many, many other Google apps, all of which I forgot about]

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....
You know, I must have been having a brain fart that day. You're right, I use a few of those most weeks. :(

On the plus side, as others have pointed out, Google has to be applauded for at least trying. If you try that many new things out, some of them are bound to fail.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mediapcAddict
if the iphone hadn't existed where would google have got all it's ideas for android from?
Android development was started in 2003, and bought by Google in 2005 - 18 months before Apple announced the iPhone.
Snips 26th November 2011, 10:16 Quote
and by the way smartphone manufacturers are all paying Microsoft, I'd say they got it from them instead.
Nexxo 28th November 2011, 10:17 Quote
Erm, no. Microsoft is just good at patent trolling. It buys companies that hold key patents and then charges competitors. 'Cause it has less faith in Windows Mobile 7 than I have, apparently.

And Apple got there first, sorry. Apple Newton, remember? You kids are just too young to know your history.
TheKrumpet 28th November 2011, 11:12 Quote
Somehow I'm not sure that Microsoft have a lack of Faith in Windows Phone 7. It's been a success so far, after all.

Also, Snips, have you ever used WinPhone 7? It's actually rather different from iOS/Android, owing to a number of things. The Metro interface is Typography vs. Icon based, and feels considerably different to both. So no, Microsoft didn't invent the technologies in either. See Nexxo's post above.

Oh, and the Newton OS isn't something I'd consider to be the 'first smartphone OS', considering 1. It was a PDA OS and 2. The entire project was canned. The Newton was subject to feature creep, and what Apple were left with was an unwieldy and unmarketable product. Which was in no way related to Smartphones so the point is moot.
steveo_mcg 28th November 2011, 11:24 Quote
Its hardly successful, it has bags of promise but I'd still shy away from saying successful, a fairly small market share and low level of developer support are not success markers.
TheKrumpet 28th November 2011, 11:42 Quote
True, but developer support is growing, and once the Nokia devices have been on the market a little while longer (they have only been around for 12 days or so after all) we shall see about market share. Thing is, as the latecomer WinPhone suffers nothing more than a lack of maturity vs. the other, better known devices. Whether that continues to be the case remains to be seen.
steveo_mcg 28th November 2011, 11:53 Quote
Aye and the same could have been said for Android in the early days. The problem is momentum people who have "bought in" to an ecosystem will be slow to move if they've spent money on soft/hardware for their OS of choice. My concern would be that MS are late to the game and Android has successfully gathered up the people who aren't already invested in RIM or iOS.
TheKrumpet 28th November 2011, 12:49 Quote
True, but there's also a lot of people who have bought into Android because they 'Don't want an iPhone' and at the time there was only Android as an alternative.

I think the real thing that could make or break WinPhone 7 is Nokia. They're a huge entity in the worldwide phone market, and them championing WinPhone as their OS of choice is going to be a huge boost to consumer knowledge.

Really, the issue is people don't know that much about Windows Phone. The iPhone became popular due to a lot of marketing and critical acclaim. Android became popular due to the amount of flexibility it offered, and as the alternative to an iPhone. Windows Phone hasn't really had the advantage of such things, and as such hasn't made that much impact on the market.

Another thing Microsoft has is the fact that WinPhone integrates directly with Outlook (which means direct integration with Exchange Server, very popular for businesses, and Live Mail, still one of the more popular e-mail services) and Microsoft Office, which allows you to work on exactly the same document on your phone as the one on your PC. Sure, that's of dubious usefulness but it's there, all the same.

But still, time will tell. If the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia works out, WinPhone 7 could be very big. If not, then it'll probably stay in the background, and Nokia will probably continue to have a declining market share. We shall see.
Snips 28th November 2011, 21:27 Quote
I wasn't the one knocking Windows Phone 7. I've had one from day one and now have the Nokia Lumia 800 which is an excellent phone.

So when Apple sues HTC for patents it's ok but when Microsoft sues HTC for patents, it's patent trolling? Jesus! I'm sure a brainfart happened there somewhere! o.0
AstralWanderer 28th November 2011, 21:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Google Romance is still going... :D
Sloth 28th November 2011, 21:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Er...lots of people....like, me!

Google Maps - every day
Google Mail/Gmail - every day
Google Docs - at least once a week
Google Reader - every day
Google Shopping/Froogle - every week
Google Translate - every week
Google Earth - every week
Google Picasa - every day
Google Sketchup - every week
Blogger - most days

...and, of course, Google+ and Youtube every day.

I'd guess "quite a lot of people" use at least 2 of these on a regular basis....
I hadn't realized how many Google services I use on a routine basis.

-Google Maps quite often, could be replaced with Bing maps I suppose but why switch? It offers no advantage.
-Gmail for my two personal email accounts, so very often. Just happen to like their service, why switch now that I already have two well established addresses?
-Google Video aka Youtube daily, almost irreplacable.
-Google Translate quite often, it's reasonably accurate for my purposes and quick to use.

I'm still with Facebook rather than Google+ because I see no advantage to make me have both or switch over completely and I use Firefox rather than Chrome for a variety of reason but Google certainly have some services which I enjoy.
Snips 29th November 2011, 10:38 Quote
"Pin All Your Romantic Hopes on Google

When you think about it, love is just another search problem. And we’ve thought about it. A lot. Google Romance™ is our solution.

Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we'll send you both on a Contextual DateTM, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for.

With Google Romance, you can:

Upload your profile – tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you’d like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are.
Search for love in all (or at least a statistically significant majority of) the right places with Soulmate Search, our eerily effective psychographic matchmaking software.
Endure, via our Contextual Dating option, thematically appropriate multimedia advertising throughout the entirety of your free date."

I thought you were just joking AstralWanderer! I bet no one admits to using that
SirFur 29th November 2011, 14:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mediapcAddict


err -WHY?
if the iphone hadn't existed where would google have got all it's ideas for android from?
I don't own anything apple but personnally I've never understood the hatred of apple. Indifference I understand. Ignore them for being expensive, pretenious and smug sure. but competition keeps prices down and basically andriod phones and tablets are clones of what apple did years ago. whatever else you think about apple computers give them some credit for the iphone ipad and the clones it has produced.

Just remember Apple weren't the first. Touch phones existed, tablets existed long before apple came up with them. They just brought new technology to them and a helluva lot of marketing power. The PR side of things is where Apple can attribute most of its success from as well as a polished first presentation of the iPhone. Right now they are good for competition, but they have been left behind seeing as there are x2.5 more android users than Apple and this is still increasing.
Nexxo 29th November 2011, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKrumpet
Oh, and the Newton OS isn't something I'd consider to be the 'first smartphone OS', considering 1. It was a PDA OS and 2. The entire project was canned. The Newton was subject to feature creep, and what Apple were left with was an unwieldy and unmarketable product. Which was in no way related to Smartphones so the point is moot.

1. PDA's begat smartphones. Palm Treo, Windows Mobiles and all that schtick. They just added a phone application to the GUI.

2. Newton got canned because it was too ambitious for the available technology to work, but not before it begat Palmpilot: a smaller, cheaper clone with (much) fewer features but a lower price. Palmpilot begat the Windows PDA, trying to get in on the action. As mobile phones matured, they converged with these PDAs to become smartphones.

Apple started working on a possible tablet by then (yes, that far back). By the time smartphones became de rigeur, Apple realised that it had all the elements to join in: remnants from the Newton, an OS developed for small touch-screen devices and a media distribution network via the iPod and iTunes. Basically, the MP3 player converged with PDA and mobile. The rest is history.
Snips 1st December 2011, 10:53 Quote
Andriod was the cheap alternative to iPhones for many carriers. However, with manufacturers rightly paying Microsoft for each handset sold, Microsoft only have to lower the cost of their more structured OS to make huge gains in the market place. Nokia's Lumia 800 is proof that a good manufacturer can add value to WP7 and give it their own unique look and feel. After all the doomsayers predicting more failure for both Nokia and Microsoft, the Lumia 800 has sold out in the UK and some great numbers coming in from all over Europe. Apparently, the seemless direct link up to outlook and exchange server is a clear winner also.
cameronjudson 1st December 2011, 12:03 Quote
Since I deal with the Google all the time, I feel that it is a very good decision, there were such services, which were when start sort of put me into a question mark and i was thinking that one day they may be shut down.
For example, when the Google wave was introduced, it was given too much hype but i foretold that it will be a complete disaster and I was right, because they came very weak in comparison to the competitors.
So in short I consider it to be a very good forward step ahead.
toolio20 1st December 2011, 23:27 Quote
And just how did this thread degenerate into another minty fresh, as-yet-unseen discussion about Apple et al. exactly...?

Google Wave (in spite of its abominable moniker) had some cool features I really hope to see incorporated into a more streamlined, less-unfortunately-named service.
Nexxo 6th December 2011, 14:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
Andriod was the cheap alternative to iPhones for many carriers. However, with manufacturers rightly paying Microsoft for each handset sold...

Rightly? Depends on your definition. By the way, Microsoft only could manage it by going in cahoots with Apple.

Don't crow victory. You are not on the winning side; you are on the losing one. The people who ultimately pay the price for all these patent shenanigans are all of us.
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